Reporting Summer Knowles
MIAMI (CBS4) – As technology continues to be an ever-present part of our daily lives, a disturbing new trend has emerged that is putting people’s privacy at risk.
Some are now turning to online forums to seek revenge on ex-lovers, former friends and even complete strangers.
One South Florida career woman was shocked to find her pictures and private information posted on a website called shesahomewrecker.com. The site is designed to be a forum for upset wives to log on and trash other women who they believe had relationships with their husbands.
“She knows the city I live in and where I work and she went on my Facebook page and stole things from there,” said the woman who did not want to be identified in this report.
She said she fears the negative posts about her could hurt her career.
There is no vetting process for the site, so she said it is really a place anyone can post anything about anybody for the world to see.
“It’s appalling and I could’ve probably gone on there and defended myself but I didn’t want her to know it was getting to me and that it bothered me and still bothers me,” she said.
The following comments were not in reference to her, but are the types of comments CBS4’s Summer Knowles came across on the site.
“This homewrecker is the lowest piece of trash.”
“She has no morals and no family values.”
“I guess homewrecking is an equal opportunity sport…even ugly chicks can do it.”
Those were some of the milder comments:
Shesahomewrecker.com is just one of many specializing in cyber revenge.
Bekah Wells from Naples can attest to that. She said when she and her ex-boyfriend were together they took sexually explicit pictures and even videotaped some of their private moments.
“I didn’t really give much thought to it. It just seemed normal and standard in this kind of relationship,” she said.
However, when the relationship went sour, Bekah was devastated to find that all those digital moments were posted on the internet.
“I feel like I was raped of my dignity,” said Bekah. “The best way to describe it is cyber rape.”
“You’ve got to think real seriously about what you really want to put out there. Even with your most intimate partner. I don’t care if it’s your husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend. What would you want the public to see,” said certified life coach, author and relationship expert Charles Johnson. “It’s the wild, wild west out there!”
“This is just a basic question about decency and the prohibitions that we have about abuse generally,” said University of Miami law professor Mary Anne Franks who has been pushing for legislation to make revenge porn illegal.
“It’s really ridiculous to suggest that we can’t criminalize this behavior and that we can’t punish these people,” said Franks.
While there are no laws in Florida criminalizing cyber revenge, there some steps that can be taken by people who find themselves in these types of situations.
1) Copyright personal nude photos and risqué videos so they can be taken off web sites and search engines with copyright infringement notices.
2) File a police report with all the minute details of what happened in order to ensure it is properly documented.
3) Don’t delete social media accounts. They are actually an established positive presence online that can help bury negative search results.
As a last resort, a civil lawsuit could be filed but they can be costly and success isn’t guaranteed.